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Many of these stories involve animals and what they mean to us, or babies and whether to have them; some reimagine biblical plots in modern contexts. With characters old, young, straight, gay, and simply confused, Donoghue dazzles with her range and her ability to touch lightly but penetrate deeply into the human condition.
been trying for a year and a half." She laughed a little hoarsely. "So what you're telling me," he said blankly, "is that I made no difference." "None at all!" She grinned at him And James, who should have felt relieved, went home early from the party with a stitch between his ribs as if there was something he'd lost. Through the Night What sent Una over the edge was people asking "Does she sleep through the night?" For some reason it was often the first thing strangers said after "What
together and gave Joseph a little wave on her way out. STRANGERS Good Deed Sam had always thought of himself as a pretty decent guy, and who was to say he wasn't? While he was doing his MBA at the University of Toronto he'd been a volunteer on the Samaritans' phone line. These days he couldn't spare the time, but he made regular tax-free contributions to schemes for eradicating river blindness in sub-Saharan Africa and improving children's sports facilities in the Yukon. He always
how your vocabulary in this story tends slightly to the abstract, rather than the concrete? How it could possibly be hard for some readers to tell what's actually going on?" Jonas scratched a spot on his chin. "No." An hour later the writer was struggling with Mrs. Pokowski. "When you say on page one that 'The savages recognized the White Man as lord of their dark and mysterious jungle,'" he quoted neutrally, "don't you think perhaps some readers might be bothered by that?" She furrowed her
raised as a woman in this society. The scars run deep. No matter how many people have told me I'm an amazingly talented person, I can't quite believe it." The writer nodded, unable to quite believe it, either. Clearly, writing was not an ordinary hobby like wine making or kung fu. It attracted the most vulnerable people; the strange, the antisocial, the sad. Some were struggling with addictions or mysterious debilitating illnesses; others wrote endless versions of their childhood traumas. One
he'd gobble one to lift his spirits, or at least his blood-sugar level. A visit from Stinking Steve—who had a bloated, sun-browned face and always wore the same Disney World sweatshirt—merited two brownie bites. When the writer's aunt sent him a homemade pomander for his office—a beribboned orange studded with cloves—he didn't laugh at it. He hung it on his desk lamp and pressed his nose to it between sessions. It made him feel like a medieval troubadour in a world of serfs. It occurred to him